Top UK brands spamming customers

News Web User Sep 23, 2010

More than half of the UK's online retailers fail to comply with email good practice guidelines, according to a study.

Fifty-one per cent of online retailers in the UK are sending emails to customers that they have not explicitly consented to receive.

A study by Spam Ratings named Philip Green's Arcadia Group as one of the worst offenders for sending unsolicited emails. Arcadia Group is the umbrella company for brands such as Topshop, Topman, Dorothy Perkins, Miss Selfridge, Wallis, Evans and Burton.

Other brands named as spammers in the study include B&Q, JD Sports, PC World, Woolworths, Aldi, Boots and British Airways.

Spam Ratings claim that 56 per cent of all emails sent by the top 100 online brands in the UK were not explicitly asked for by consumers.

Forty-four per cent of these brands also provided automatically ticked boxes that signed up customers registering on the site to email newsletters, despite this being against email best practice guidelines from the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) and the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO).

"Trusted brands are making a big mistake by not acting responsibly, openly and fairly with customers. Businesses spend millions building brands and then seem intent on destroying them by sending millions of useless, unwanted emails," said Andy Yates, co-founder of Spam Ratings.

"Big brands need to start acting responsibly now. Give consumers a fair choice. Let them choose if they want to receive emails. Common sense tells us that if consumers actively request emails then they are more likely to read them than delete them. Responsible brands need to communicate and have a dialogue with consumers rather than annoy them," he continued.

Earlier this month, Asda took issue with being named as one of the worst offenders when it came to sending unwanted email to customers in another report from Spam Ratings.

However, the two companies have since made peace with an Asda spokeswoman telling Web User: "The marketing team are already underway evaluating this issue with reference to the over 20 transactional websites available online today. Part of this project includes the review of opt-in policy, which will of course adhere to best ICO guidelines.

"This will then allow the development of a clear preference centre to manage customers channel preference. Once we've completed this we'd love to work with Spam Ratings and gain this accreditation," she continued.